By Dylan Bailey
Hofbrau Amelia is Fernandina’s only German pub and biergarten. My question now is how does the restaurant’s food stand out amongst the island’s already expansive cuisine? I set out to find whether you should give a schnitzel.
Stephen and Andrea Buehler are two retired lawyers who are local to the Fernandina area. Their passion for authentic German beer and cuisine inspired them to open the restaurant on December 30th, 2022.
Hofbrau Amelia is right across from the Green Turtle Tavern. As the building comes into view, it pops with an array of eye-catching colors — looking like something plucked out of a fairytale.
The front patio, filled with brick pavers, has a fountain in the middle. Plants and greenery are abundant, with hanging lights sprawling across, making this feel like a secret garden. There’s plenty of seating, with large tables, each with an enormous umbrella.
Inside the restaurant is a more communal space. A large bar area is situated directly in the middle, with a plethora of taps, mugs, and TVs around. An incredibly cozy spot.
The aesthetics and welcomeness of Hofbrau Amelia pulled me in instantly, which made me even more excited to sink my teeth into their authentic German food. I ordered the Bavarian pretzel ($13), a Reuben sandwich ($16), and the German schnitzel ($23).
The Bavarian pretzel came warm, exuding a delicious bready aroma. This appetizer, which could easily be a full meal, comes with beer cheese, and two different kinds of mustard. One is a traditional yellow, with the other being spicy, which is an understatement. The spice grabbed my tongue and refused to let go. If you’re not a fan of spice, I’d avoid it. The pretzel, on the other hand, had a salty, crunchy exterior, with a soft, bready inside. Each dip in the flavorful beer cheese left me saying, “Wow!”
I moved on to the Reuben sandwich next, which came with corned beef, Swiss cheese, a mountainous pile of sauerkraut, and homemade sauce on toasted marble rye bread. This meal came with a side, and I opted for the German potato salad.
The sandwich was phenomenal. The crunch and poignancy of the sauerkraut, the salty beef and the homemade sauce made each bite a flavorful explosion. I can easily say this was my favorite from the restaurant. The German potato salad was unlike what we consider potato salad around here. A hot bowl of red-skinned potatoes tossed in a vinegar-based dressing, with chunks of bacon throughout. Hearty and absolutely succulent.
My final entree, and the one I was most curious about, was the German schnitzel. It featured pork tenderloin, breaded and pan-fried, with red cabbage and mashed potatoes. The meat by itself had little flavor, besides the light breading. When I incorporated the mashed potatoes, with its thick brown gravy, and a generous helping of the red cabbage, this dish came to life. The creaminess of the gravy, with the hand-mashed potatoes, brought amazing flavor. The red cabbage, with its sweet and sour taste, added a textural crunch and a pop to each bite.
Dining at Hofbrau Amelia feels like stepping into a storybook, with food that’s hearty, flavorful and imaginative. Expect to spend a pretty penny when you visit, because the prices are on the higher end. I would absolutely come back and nab another Reuben sandwich with the German potato salad.
Address: 19 S. 3rd St. Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Open: Monday – Sunday (Closed Tuesdays)
Hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.